Islamic Human Rights Commission
Information & Campaign Pack for UK Muslims in the Wake of Attacks on America
(The information contained herein may be useful for Muslims in other countries. Please contact IHRC for further information or with suggestions)
2. Specimen Letter to British Home Secretary
3. Specimen Letter to British MPs
4. Poster for Masjids
5. Problems facing Muslim parents with their Children’s schools
6. Sample Letter for Muslim parents to school principal
7. Safety tips for Muslim Women (forwarded) by Samana Siddiqui
18 September 2001
Dear Brothers & Sisters In Islam
Assalaam alaikum wa Rahmatullahi wa barakatuhu,
A difficult time is anticipated for British Muslims following the attacks on the World Trade Centre and Pentagon in America on Tuesday 11 September.
Media reporting has efficiently portrayed Muslims as perpetrators and supporters of the attacks. Increased reports of attacks on Muslims over the last week are emerging from sisters having their hijabs pulled of off and being spat in the street to brothers being viciously attacked. The BBC News reported on 18 September that in Twickenham an Afghani minicab driver was paralysed from the neck down after picking up passengers who afterwards attacked him.
The Islamic Human Rights Commission have produced this pack which contains the following items:
• Urgent alert dated 17.09.01. This contains information for parents worried about their children in school, as well as a specimen letter to send to the principal. This urgent alert also contains extra precautionary measures which should be taken by sisers if they should need to travel.
• Specimen letter to Home Secretary David Blunkett MP urging him to provide extra security for Masjids, Islamic centres and Muslim schools etc. The letter also makes reference to the fact that the 1976 Race Relations Act, at present does not protect Muslims as distinct group, so urges David Blunkett to revise the Act thereby offering Muslims the same protection as the Jewish, Sikh and Rastafarian communities.
• Specimen letter to your MP asking him/ her to contact Mr Tony Blair PM and the Foreign Secretary Mr Jack Straw in order to abolish the policy for vengence which has been so vividly portrayed in both the government’s talk and the media. Blind rhetoric does little except inflame an already tense situation, and we urge the government to firstly prove that Osama bin Laden was responsible for organising the attacks and to then try him according to international law.
• Poster for display inside masjids and Islamic organisations, describing security protocols to be taken by all Islamic centres and also individuals.
If you require further information or copies of specimen letters, please do not hesitate to contact us. Please do not hesitate to contact us if you would like this pack or any part of it emailed to you as an attachment, or sent to you by conventional mail.
Wasalaam,your brother in Islam
Rt. Hon. David Blunkett
The Home Office
50 Queen Anne’s Gate
London SW1H 9AT
Dear Mr Blunkett,
I am writing with regards to the acts of terrorism in the USA and its impact upon the Muslim Community in the United Kingdom.
We are concerned about the safety of the Muslim community, who have condemned the terrorist attacks on the USA, but are finding themselves subjected to abuse at all levels. There have been widespread attacks on mosques throughout the country types of which range from hate mail to arson attacks. A growing number of Individuals have also found themselves to be victims of despicable treatment, not only are they subjected to verbal abuse they are also spat at and many have suffered serious physical assaults. Much of the attacks are unreported, but are worryingly widespread. Such attacks have further repercussions and are already creating fear within the community to the extent that people are afraid to venture out of their homes. Several Muslim organisations have been closed temporarily, including Muslim schools because of fears of hate crimes.
We urge you to take a strong stance against the perpetrators of these acts and to put into motion immediate measures to protect the Muslim community. We request increased police presence in pre-dominantly Muslims areas, and particularly near Islamic institutions which are susceptible to these attacks such as mosques and schools. Furthermore, we request that cases of such treatment be dealt with immediately and with appropriate action against the perpetrators.
The current climate is again, highlighting the failure of the Race Relations Act to adequately protect the Muslim Community, to provide them with the level of protection that has been afforded to other communities such as the Sikh and Jewsish. Some attacks on Muslims can be dealt with by using the race of the victim as partial motivation for the attack. However, the problem still remains that a clever racist can avoid liability by attacking sections of the community that also would not be able to seek protection on the basis of race, nationality, ethnic or national origin.
In the long run, the Government needs to rethink its approach towards religious minorities and revise legislation to provide adequate protection to those who are victims of hate crimes. Its failure to do so will seriously undermine its stated goal of good community relations in the country.
I look forward to your confirmation of the government’s immediate and effective action in this matter.
Insert Name of MP…………………..
House of Commons
I am writing regarding the terrorist attacks in the USA and the position adopted by the government of Britain in assisting the USA on its ‘War against terrorism’. I urge you to formally contact the Prime Minister Tony Blair and the Foreign Secretary Jack Straw with regards to the following points.
The Muslim world condemns these terrorist attacks and the taking of lives of innocent people. However, the proposed military attack on Afghanistan, supported by Britain, in a bid to capture Osama bin Laden will not be without drastic consequences. Military action against the state of Afghanistan will only result in the massacre of innocent men, women and children.
Undoubtedly justice must be obtained for the victims of this tragedy. However, I am extremely worried that the USA and therefore Britain is ignoring all international protocol whilst seeking revenge for the attacks. The recent disclosure that the ban on the CIA performing assassinations may be lifted is particularly worrying. George Bush’s comments about wanting Osama Bin Laden “dead or alive” and his firm intention of bombing Afghanistan, still without proof that Osama Bin Laden masterminded the attacks evidently shows that the lives of Amercians are thought of as more important than the lives of other nationality civilians. If Afghanistan is bombed, without evidence of Bin Laden’s connection then surely those seeking justice have to ask why Israel was not subject to military attacks following the massacre of 2000 refugees in the Shatila and Sabra refugee camps in Lebanon in 1982. I would also then ask why Ariel Sharon who was found guilty of masterminding the attacks in Lebanon was not “wanted dead or alive” for his crimes against humanity? Instead he was treated as a guest of honour in both the USA and Britain. Israel continues to receive up to 3 billion dollars worth of aid every year from the USA whereas any country who aids Afghanistan is liable to also be bombed.
Therefore, I urge you to seek justice according to international law. Ascertaining Bin Laden’s involvement with proof, then extraditing him to an international court of justice will see that justice is served correctly. Furthermore I urge you to reconsider Britain’s pledge to help America with the “war against terrorism”. Blindly following the USA’s lead against a defenceless population will only encourage terrorism rather than destroy it.
I look forward to hearing your response to the points raised in the letter, particularly the governments’ position on acting against terrorism carried out by countries other than Afghanistan.
PRECAUTIONARY MEASURES FOR THE COMMUNITY
Following the terrorist attacks across America on 11 September 2001, there has been an increase in anti-Muslim feeling across Europe, the USA and Australia. Attacks, both verbal and physical have been reported to the Islamic Human Rights Commission. The treatment ranges from being spat at, forcibly having the hijaab removed, harassment of young children at school, and death threats etc.
In light of the present situation, IHRC urges that precautionary measures be taken:
• Be vigilant
• Do not open suspect packages
• Report all harassment, whether it is verbal, physical or psychological, to the police and the Islamic Human Rights Commission (020 89020888)
• If a satisfactory response is not received from the police, contact the IHRC
• Liase with the police, and get advice on how to best tackle the problem of harassment.
As Muslims, we must remain firm in our beliefs and have patience. We should remember that:
Allah does not lay on any soul a burden except to the extent to which He has granted it; Allah brings about ease after difficulty. (65:7)
If Allah assists you, then there is none that can overcome you, and if He forsakes you, who is there then that can assist you after Him? And on Allah should the believers rely. (3:160)
1. Problems facing Muslim students at school
2. Specimen Letter
3. Precautionary Measures for Muslim Women
After recent assaults on Muslim school children, IHRC is further concerned for their safety.
Muslims have made their position extremely clear in that they condemn the killing of innocent civilians and in no way condone the tragic events of 11.09.01. It should be noted that the second largest group killed in the twin towers were Pakistani Nationals. Therefore it is grossly unfair that the targeting of Muslims in the U.K has escalated on grounds of Islam being associated with terrorism.
Politicians have vaguely spoken out against this discriminating behaviour but despite this the media and political parties such as the BNP have been adamant in projecting Islam and Muslims as terrorists. The BNP literature incites hatred and brutality against Muslims and latent racism is coming to the fore in certain elements of society.
Due to popular demand, attached is a sample letter for all concerned parents to send to their child\’s school.
It is absolutely necessary that all incidents of harassment, be it verbal, physical or psychological are reported to the police and ourselves. This is of the utmost importance as the authorities should be made aware of the situation and feel under pressure to provide extra security at a time when the Muslim community is at its most vulnerable. The only method of obtaining legitimate protection which we are entitled to as British citizens is if incidents are documented.
Please feel free to contact us for any further help in this matter.
At Mosques and Islamic Centres precautionary measures must be taken and Muslims are advised to be extra vigilant.
Courtesy & Copyright soundvision.com
Dear (insert principal\’s name)
I am writing to you out of concern for the safety of all of the children in our school. As a parent I am deeply shocked and saddened by the recent terrorist action in New York and Washington.
I am worried about possible misunderstandings about the faith of Islam and the British Muslim Community. Sadly, there have been many reported incidents of bullying and harassment of Arab and /or Muslim students of different ethnic backgrounds in Schools across the Country.
Islam is a religion of peace and Muslims do not support violent actions. Please help your students to talk about the media images and discussions they are seeing and hearing so that they will not be afraid of, or angry with innocent Muslim, Middle Eastern or South Asian students at school.
If I can be of any assistance with this important anti racism education please let me know. You can contact me at (insert daytime phone no.)
Parent of: (Students name) END
24 Safety Tips for Muslim Women
By Samana Siddiqui
courtesy & copyright soundvision.com
As Muslims and their institutions become targets of harassment in the wake of the September 11 terrorist attack, Muslim women, especially those who dress Islamically, have become major targets.
Reports of Muslim women being yelled at, threatened, having their Hijabs pulled off and having guns pointed at them have surfaced. It is necessary that the whole community rallies to defend Muslim women. But sisters also have to take personal precautions when they go outside. Like it or not, they will be targets.
Here are some safety tips for sisters:
1. Always be aware of your surroundings
This applies whether you are traveling alone or in groups. Don\’t just focus inwardly on your thoughts if you are alone, or your friends if you are together. Keep one eye out for your environment, looking out for suspicious characters, possible danger, etc.
Also, don\’t assume that because your area has been \\\”safe\\\” thus far, that it will continue to be so.
2. Travel in groups
\\\”There is safety in numbers\\\” is not just a cliche. It\’s true. Make a point of travelling together with other sisters, whether it\’s on public transportation, on campus, in cars, etc.
3. Change the route you normally travel by
If you\’ve taken the same bus, train or highway to get to work or school, change your route. Even if it takes you a little longer, your safety is more important. By changing your route, you can avert possible attacks or
harassment from those who know your schedule, method and route of travel well. Please note though that you should avoid short cuts that take you through unfamiliar or unsafe areas.
4. Look confident
Walk with a straight posture and your arms swinging by your sides. Avoid slouching or walking like a victim. This makes you an easy target for attackers.
5. When riding by public transportation choose the right seat
If you are riding by bus or train, do not sit on the window seat as you may be \\\”blocked in\\\” by a potential assailant. Always select the seat next to the aisle so that you can quickly leave if necessary.
If you are taking public transportation alone after peak hours, sit as close to the driver as possible and/or choose the section of the bus/train that is most crowded. Try to get a seat near the exit as well.
6. If you are driving alone
Don\’t think that if you are in a car, you\’re safe. Windows should be up and doors locked even when driving to avoid unwanted passengers at intersections. When you are walking to your car, always have your keys
ready, so that you can quickly get into your car.
But don\’t just get in right away. Always check your car before entering, especially the back, for any intruders.
7. Never leave your car door unlocked
Even if it means for one minute to drop something off in the mailbox that\’s
a few feet away. Attackers have been known to lie in wait for such an
8. Be careful in parking lots
Always be alert in parking lots, especially when it\’s dark. Ask someone to escort you to your car. Between cars and inside cars, it\’s easy for someone to hide and wait until an unalert person comes along.
9. If you are travelling by taxi
Always check the identification of the driver (usually located near the visor) and ensure that it matches the driver. Once inside, don\’t sit behind the driver as it may be easy for the driver to lock the rear passenger door. Always choose the adjacent seat .
In addition, avoid flagging taxis. Always order taxis so the driver can be traced if something happens.
10. Don\’t use the walkman
If you\’re used to listening to your walkman while outside, drop this habit, especially in isolated areas. With your walkman on, you cannot hear the approach of a possible attacker.
11. Note \\\”safe houses\\\” along your route
Mentally note houses at intervals on each route you take that can be used as \\\”safe houses\\\” if you are attacked, such as shops or houses that you know to be occupied by a friend or acquaintance.
12. When you make a call from a phone booth
After dialling the number you wish to call always turn around so that you have your back to the phone and may see who or what is coming your way. You will then be able to tell the person to whom you are speaking that you may be in trouble and you may be able to use the weight of the phone as a weapon. The door of a telephone box could be used to wedge in the limbs of the attacker.
13. Do not open the door of your home without checking
DO NOT open the door to your home without first checking from a window, peephole or by asking and verifying who it is. Instruct children to do the same.
14. Report any suspicious activity around your home
If you see people loitering on the streets near your house, call the police on a non emergency number and report it.
15. Invest in a cell phone
This is an invaluable safety device. Keep it with you at all times and keep emergency numbers on it. Also, keep it next to your bed before you go to bed at night. Cell phones were first popularized by women as a security device, business people came later.
16. Parking tips
Avoid parking in areas that are not well lit. Where possible, park close to a school or work entrance or in a parking garage that has an attendant.
If you see a suspicious person approaching or hanging around near your parked car, turn around and go back to an area where there are other people. Try to get an escort to your car through the campus or job security or local
17. Tell others about your whereabouts
Parents, spouses and friends should know where you are going and when you will be back, so that your absence will be noticed. Arrange a call in system with a friend if you live alone, whereby you call when you arrive home.
18. Trust your instincts
If you are walking somewhere and feel strange or scared, don\’t ignore this feeling. Take extra precautions by walking a little faster to get to a more populated or well-lit area or change the route you\’ve been driving on.
19. If you think you are being followed, change your route and activity.
You can cross the street, change directions, or enter a populated building or store. Do whatever is necessary to avoid being alone with the person who is following you. Inform a police officer or security official about the follower.
20. Attract attention if you are in a dangerous situation.
Get others\’ to pay attention to what\’s happening to you if you are under attack or being harassed. You can alert others by honking a car horn or loudly describing what is happening.
21. NEVER admit that you are alone
If someone calls your home and asks if you are alone, NEVER admit it. Ask who the caller is. If they refuse to identify themselves, calmly hangup. Keep the radio on in the house so that callers will get the impression that others are in the home too. Instruct children to do the same when they pick up the phone.
22. Obscene phone calls
If you receive an obscene call or a crank call, do not talk to the caller. Hang up if the caller doesn\’t say anything, or as soon as s/he shouts obscenities. Hang up the phone calmly and do not slam it down. Note down the date and time of the calls. If they are persistent, inform local police.
23. If you are a student
Avoid studying in isolated classrooms in parts of the college campus that are not regularly patrolled by the school\’s security officers.
24. In large buildings take the elevator, not the stairwell
Stairwells are usually quiet and dark. Most people take the elevator. But if someone creepy gets on, don\’t hesitate to get off at the same time. Or, if someone is already on the elevator who you feel strange about, do not get on and wait for the next elevator.[END]
To subscribe to the IHRC mailing list send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
To unsubscribe from the IHRC mailing list send an email to email@example.com
Islamic Human Rights Commission
PO Box 598, Wembley, London, United Kingdom, HA9 7XH
Telephone (+44) 20 8902 0888
Fax (+44) 20 8902 0889